Project Compassion is Caritas Australia’s main annual fundraising campaign. It mobilises Australians to raise much-needed funds to help alleviate poverty, promote justice and uphold dignity in the most vulnerable and marginalised communities in the world.
Held during Lent, the six-week period before Easter, Catholic schools, Parishes, and the wider Australian public participate in a diverse range of fundraising activities and events to support Caritas Australia’s programs both overseas and here with our First Australian partners.
Project Compassion is an extraordinary demonstration of the faith, empathy and generosity of our supporters. It is the lifeblood of Caritas Australia; without it, we could not do the vital work that we do.
The first national appeal for overseas aid was held in 1965. This initiative drew inspiration from Lenten appeals at a Parish and diocesan level in Adelaide the two previous years. The Australian Bishops agreed to a proposal for a nationwide appeal while in Rome for Vatican II in late 1964.
A pastoral letter was drafted by the Episcopal Committee for Overseas Relief (the forerunner of Caritas), to be signed by each bishop, calling on all Catholic families to donate any money saved in Lent through self-denial to poverty relief. That year, over £50,000 was raised.
Roy Boylan, president of the Sydney Diocesan committee for Catholic Overseas Relief, proposed calling the Sydney appeal Project Compassion in mid-1965. The name was adopted nationally and in 1966 the national Lenten appeal was rolled out as Project Compassion.
The theme of Project Compassion is For All Future Generations. This year, we focus on the stories of three remarkable, resilient people from the Philippines, Malawi and Samoa.
Each of these stories demonstrates the powerful impact that each one of us can have For All Future Generations. Together, we can create lasting change for people living in some of the most vulnerable and low-income regions in the world.
Donations made through Project Compassion are not country or program specific. The stories featured in Project Compassion are examples of our ongoing, long-term development programs in some of the regions we work in. Your contribution will go towards supporting people where the need is greatest.
Some funding from Project Compassion is also occasionally used to support our emergency responses to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. However, it is not possible to donate to a specific country or disaster event through Project Compassion, as funds for these are raised separately through our emergency appeals. Our long-term development work is crucial for supporting communities before, during and after disasters, and is what helps our partners to respond promptly when disaster strikes.
All of the programs featured in Project Compassion have been funded by our supporters through Project Compassion and other fundraising campaigns. Some of the programs we support may also receive funds from other sources, including the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
There are a number of ways you can support Project Compassion in your home, Parish, school or community.
Fundraise: To support your fundraising efforts for Project Compassion, a fundraising guide is available here.
Some ways you can raise vital funds include:
- Give it up for Lent - Why not give up something for Lent? Your daily coffee, chocolate or social media? Set up your own fundraising page on the Project Compassion website and ask people to sponsor you. Lent is a time of almsgiving, where we think beyond ourselves and give to those who need it most.
- Caritas Ks Challenge - In low-income countries, people often have to walk for hours to reach clean, drinking water. To show your solidarity with people living in poverty and experience what it’s like to travel long distances for essentials like water, you can divide people into groups of four and give each group two buckets filled with 10 litres of recycled water. Mark your chosen distance and see which team can finish first. Raise money by setting up your own fundraising page and asking your friends and family to sponsor your Caritas Ks challenge.
- Caritas Kitchen - Share good food for a good cause, and raise money for those who can’t always put a meal on their table. It’s easy: simply gather your guests, cook something you like, and collect donations. It’s a reminder that what you do in your kitchen can and does have an impact on what others can bring to theirs. You can set up a fundraising page on the Project Compassion website and access resources to make your event even better!
Find out how you can support these campaigns and learn more here
*Please check your state's COVID-19 restrictions prior to hosting any event. Your fundraiser may look a little different due to the impacts of the pandemic, but vulnerable people around the world need your support now more than ever. You're welcome to host your event virtually or come up with your own creative, COVID-safe way to help raise funds for Project Compassion.
Donate: You can donate online, at your local Parish or school by using the iconic Project Compassion donation boxes or donation envelopes. Project Compassion donation boxes can be collected from your local Parish, or call us on 1800 024 413.
Social Media: Make sure you use #ProjectCompassion when sharing your event photos and fundraising messages on social media. Follow our Project Compassion activity on Facebook or Instagram.
Use our free resources: A range of exciting education, fundraising and Parish resources are available to use during the six weeks of Lent, which can be accessed online at www.caritas.org.au/resources/project-compassion/
GO TO our Fundraise page on the Project Compassion website.
CLICK “Register a team” if you’re a class, school or team holding an event or “Register as an individual” if you’re holding the event yourself.
ENTER your or your team’s details.
CHOOSE your message or personalise it. Select your event date, your fundraising target and then click ‘Create Profile’.
Yes – please contact our team to make an offline donation and we will attribute it to your fundraising total. Please call our friendly Supporter Care team on 1800 024 413 (toll-free) or email email@example.com.
Your donations and support enable Caritas Australia to work alongside vulnerable communities in Australia and overseas to address the challenges of poverty today, and to drive lasting change for a better tomorrow.
At Caritas Australia, we pride ourselves on having one of the lowest administration rates in the sector.
83% of funds are spent on local and international programs, including vital education and advocacy programs in Australia.
4% of funds are spent on essential administration costs, including our talented people.
13% of funds are spent on fundraising activities so we can maintain and expand the scope of our programs which reach over 3 million people each year.
Yes. Donations of $2 and over are tax deductible.